Stickers, stickers, stickers all over; they are latest craze for youngsters
Stickers are the latest craze for pre-high pre-high pre-high school kids, and they’ve taken both east and west coast by storm. The offspring of the lowly label, pressure-sensitive stickers have become the baseball cards of the 80s.
Kids collect them and trade them. Teachers use them as rewards. Parents buy them as party favors. Teen and pre-teen pre-teen pre-teen magazines as well as the education journals are filled with ads for stickers, and an estimated 100 American companies now manufacture and sell them. For one Canadian company, Sandylion, stickers are its sole raison d’etre. And one San Francisco Francisco store sells nothing but stickers.
Ranging in price from 10 cents to 50 cents each, stickers of all shapes and sizes are turning up everywhere. From bubblegum machines to gift shops, stationary stores to catalogs, they reappear for show in special sticker albums, photo albums and shoeboxes, on school assignments and books, on hands and lunch boxes.
Gorilla stickers. Rainbow stickers. Parrot stickers. Metallic stickers. Sparkly stickers. Three-dimensional stickers. Stickers that smell like pizza and old shoes and strawberries when you scratch them. Stickers that change color when you touch them.
“A lot of people collect them just to keep them,” said 14-year-old Tiffany Evans of Hillsborough. “They’re neat to look at, and you don’t have to have a big thing to keep them in.” Tiffany has a photo album full of different stickers, and they also adorn the grocery-bag covers to her school books. “My math book has a panda bear on it. That’s how I know it’s my math book,” she explained. Her social studies book, on the other hand, was covered with “smelly” stickers until she was caught walking home in a downpour. But now she’s redecorating it “so my books don’t look so much like school.”
Then, there are the more serious collectors, who’ve committed themselves to one special kind of sticker. Thirteen-year-old Carey Marichak of Hillsborough is devoted to unicorns, of which she has two photo albums full. “I’m a nut on that,” the eighth grader admitted. They adorn her stereo and fill two photo albums.
Stickers debuted in California (as do so many American trends) not as collector’s items, but as seals for envelopes and gift wrap, explained John Grimes, an urban planner-turned planner-turned planner-turned paper company owner who helped pioneer the stickers market in 1980.
“It was the kids’ idea to collect them, not ours,” he said. Then, “the whole market exploded.” His five-year-old five-year-old five-year-old five-year-old five-year-old Oakland, Ca. firm CarDesign started out as a greeting card company. Now, three-quarters of the company’s business is in stickers.
Sticker manufacturers hope they’ve hit upon a lasting market. “It fits in with the way kids are in the large East and West coast urban populations,” said Grimes.
As opposed to the more outdoors-sports oriented children of the south and midwest, the coastal populations of kids are “visually oriented” towards TV, magazines and colorful graphics, he said hence, stickers’ appeal.